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Should I downgrade from Windows XP Pro to Windows XP Home Edition? 

by on October 30, 2008

Q: I have a Dell laptop with Windows XP Pro on it, but I want to use Windows XP Home instead. Is this a good idea?

A: Microsoft created a version of Windows XP Pro with some advanced features turned off and called it Windows XP Home. In other words, XP Home is nothing more than a crippled version of XP Pro. You would actually be removing features from your Dell laptop by downgrading from XP Pro to XP Home! Furthermore, your Dell laptop runs at the same speed with XP Pro as it would with XP Home.

In my opinion, it is not a good idea to replace XP Pro with XP Home. But if you are still committed to the idea of installing XP Home on your laptop, leave a comment underneath this answer describing your exact situation in as much detail as possible.

TIP: Many Windows XP-based computers are not compatible with Windows Vista.


Can I upgrade my Toshiba laptop’s graphics card? 

by on October 30, 2008

Q: I have a Toshiba Satellite A135-S4227 laptop and I am wondering if I can upgrade the graphics card for games or can the laptop play games as is from factory?

A: According to my research, it is impossible to upgrade your laptop’s graphics capabilities. Indeed, there are only a handful of laptops with upgradeable graphics on the market today.

Even if it were possible to upgrade your laptop’s graphics capabilities, both an official PDF from Toshiba and a comprehensive online review of your laptop confirm that many other components inside your laptop are too old/slow for serious gaming. Your laptop is therefore limited to running only older games and/or games with very simple graphics.

TIP: Computers that are designed for gaming have dedicated graphics (sometimes called discrete graphics), while non-gaming computers use either integrated graphics or hybrid graphics.


Does Windows-based software work on a Mac? 

by on October 29, 2008

Q: Does Windows-based software work on a Mac? Also, I’ve always heard that one of the benefits of a Mac is that the majority of malware won’t affect them. But if they will run Windows-based software, won’t they also run any malware that works on Windows?

A: The Macs that are capable of running Windows-based software are: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini (Intel-based only) iMac (Intel-based only) and Mac Pro. There are three different methods that you can use to get Windows software running on your Mac. I will describe these methods and then answer your question about malware. Read the rest of this entry »


Is it possible to install Windows using another computer’s recovery disc? 

by on October 28, 2008

Q: I bought a Dell laptop off eBay with Windows Me installed. My office-based computer is about to be junked. Can I use the recovery disc from my office’s eMachines PC to install Windows XP onto my Dell laptop?

A: It may be technologically possible to install Windows XP onto your Dell laptop using your office’s eMachines recovery disc; it depends upon both the hardware that is in your Dell and methods, which eMachines used to program the recovery disc.

But legally, neither Microsoft nor Dell nor eMachines would allow you to use one computer’s recovery disc to install Windows on another computer. That is, a recovery disc is only supposed to be used on the computer with which it was sold. Doing otherwise creates a risk for both you and your employer of getting into serious trouble! Read the rest of this entry »


Are Norton 360 and Spy Sweeper conflicting with one another? 

by on October 26, 2008

Q: I installed Norton 360 on an HP notebook and already had Spy Sweeper. Now my computer will not boot-up. Do Spy Sweeper and Norton conflict with one another? How do I fix this?

A: The most likely explanation for your computer’s malfunction is indeed that Norton and Spy Sweeper are conflicting with one another. Security programs tend to conflict with one another whenever they duplicate each other’s functionality. In your case, your computer’s security programs are both trying to protect against spyware. Fortunately, your should be able to repair your computer via the following procedure:

  • Immediately after using the power button to start your computer, repeatedly press the F8 key. This will provide you with a list of ways to boot-up Windows. Choose the Safe Mode option. Safe Mode tells Windows to ignore security programs, some devices & drivers, etc.
  • Log into your Windows user account. Read the rest of this entry »

Which Dell Computer Should I buy? 

by on October 13, 2008

Q: Can you tell me what the difference between a Dell Dimension and a Dell Inspiron computer is? Also, what do you think about the below offer: Inspiron 530 with Intel Dual Core processor at 2.2 GHz (1 MB cache), an 800 MT/s FSB, and free keyboard & mouse = $399.00.

A: Dell has discontinued its Dimension product line. Click here to visit Dell’s official website, and you will notice that Dell’s current computer families for Home & Home Office customers are Inspiron, Studio, and XPS. Inspiron desktops and Studio desktops are both built with everyday computing tasks in mind. Studio desktops look chic, but oftentimes their attractiveness is achieved at the cost of diminished performance and higher price. XPS desktops are perhaps the best choice for professionals who require powerful graphics and/or extra processing power and gamers who want to play the latest games.

While I personally am unimpressed by the Inspiron 530 that you mention, only you can decide whether or not it is the computer for you. My philosophy is that you should purchase the very best computer you can afford. As the old saying goes “You get what you pay for.” I encourage you to start by investigating how the specifications of that Inspiron 530 compare with the system requirements of your software & devices; the specs should exceed the system requirements.

Then remember that in the world of computer hardware, more is usually superior: 4 GB of RAM is better than 2 GB of RAM, 6 MB of processor cache is better than 3 MB of processor cache, an 800 MHz RAM speed is better than a 667 MHz RAM speed, a 1333 MT/s front side bus is better than a 1066 MT/s front side bus, a 7200 RPM hard drive is better than a 5400 RPM hard drive, etc.

TIP: Dell is one of the only major computer companies that will provide a Windows installation disc to a customer upon request. Windows installation discs are superior to system recovery utilities.